BENTON - James G. Brown, 88, passed away at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, in Memorial Medical Center.
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He was born Aug. 8, 1925, in Marion, to Robert Ralph and Gertrude (Benton) Brown.
He married Jewel Marie Ritchey on March 15, 1947, in Piggott, Ark. She preceded him in death on Oct. 2, 2007.
Survivors include his daughter, Judith A. (Jim) Taylor of Springfield; granddaughter, Amelia L. (Steven) Ent of Glenarm; grandson, David G. (Lindsay) Taylor of San Diego, Calif.; stepgrandson, J. Scott (Shari) Quindry of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; great-grandchildren Taylor, Mackenzie, Mikel and Sydney Ent; step-great-grandchildren, Jessica, Carrie and Brandon Quindry; three step-great-great-grandchildren; nephews, James Goetz of San Diego, Calif. and Robert C. Eshelman of Sterling, Ark.; niece, Robyn L. Eshelman of Anchorage, Alaska; and several great-nieces and great-nephews.
He was preceded in death were his parents; his stepson, Kenneth J. Quindry; his sister, A. Virginia Eshelman; and his nephew, John M. Eshelman.
He was a 1943 graduate of Marion High School, where he played football and was captain of the Wildcats. Also known as a great tennis player, he and his father, Ralph, were a well-known doubles team in the area. The University of Illinois and Tulane University recruited him to play football, but he chose to join the Navy. He was trained in underwater demolition and served with the Sea Bees at Bougainville, Kwajalein, Saipan and Iwo Jima.
As a child of the Great Depression, Jim was no stranger to hard work. At the age of nine, he held three jobs and had an account with JC Penney. He delivered papers, cleaned a local drug store, filled washtubs for his mother's laundry job and all before he went to school every morning. He was well known for waking the neighbors with his whistling while delivering the morning newspapers. At one point, while in the Navy, he received a month-long special assignment at the base chapel after waking a chaplain very early one morning by whistling while he worked.
After World War II, he was hired by Central Illinois Public Service Company, and transferred to Anna in 1950 as a journeyman lineman. His work with the legendary Anna line crew included installing the high lines on the new 500-foot towers that spanned the Mississippi River in southern Illinois. He transferred to Carbondale in 1960 to become a local lineman, and in 1962, he became a Load Dispatcher for the Southern Division of CIPS in West Frankfort. He became Chief Load Dispatcher in 1964 and transferred back to Marion with the opening of a new dispatch center in 1975. He returned to West Frankfort as local CIPS Superintendent in 1981, and transferred to Benton when he became Area Superintendent in 1986. He remained in Benton until his retirement in November 1989.
Jim was well loved for involvement in both his church and community. He and Jewel were members of First Baptist Church of West Frankfort for 42 years. Jim sang with the church choir, and later with the Young At Heart choir. He was ordained as a deacon in 1968, and later served as Chairman of Deacons, Church Treasurer and as teacher of the adult men's Vanguard Class. He served as member and Presi-dent of both the West Frankfort Lions' Club and the West Frankfort Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Board of Directors for Franklin Hospital in Benton and was a member of the Fund Raising Committee for John A. Logan Community College in Carterville.
He was affectionately known as "The Pancake Man" for the countless hours he spent cooking pancakes for the Lions' Club on Election Day, and for fundraisers in the park with the West Frankfort Park District. His legendary fudge was in constant demand by friends and family, not just locally, but around the state and in a few spots around the world. According to his wishes, the fudge recipe continues to be known only by members of his surviving family.
Jim was loved for his great stories, his teasing, his orneriness and the nicknames he had for everyone that knew him. He was a great dancer, and the dance floor cleared more than once while he and Jewel danced. He continually won the "Longest Drive" contest at company golf tournaments, but his "mulligans" could frustrate anyone that played with him. He enjoyed playing poker with his buddies at Montvale and he loved his music. He enjoyed his fruit trees, vegetable gardens and debating gardening issues with his daughter. He loved his Lord, he loved his family and he enjoyed life. He was a good man! At the time of his death, Mr. Brown was a resident of Wyndcrest Assisted-Living Facility in Rochester and had been a member of Western Oaks Baptist Church in Springfield, since 2004.
Services with military honors will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 9, in Camp Butler National Cemetery. Family and friends are invited to attend graveside services, as well as a 3 p.m. reception at Bisch Funeral Home West at 2931 S. Koke Mill Road, Springfield.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mr. Brown's honor to the General Scholarship Fund at John A. Logan Community College, 700 Logan College Drive, Carterville.
To leave a tribute or condolences, visit the online "Life Remembered Story" at www.bischfuneralhomewest.com.
Bisch Funeral Home in Springfield is in charge of arrangements.
Published in The Southern Illinoisan on Jan. 7, 2014